This was written in 2011. The issue continues to be of great importance. At this point in 2012, new action is taking place. Additional information may be added or feel free to ask me to update--free of charge--if you would like this for your publication.
This past Monday, a local home school group, Loving Education at Home, shared an enlightening documentary, entitled "The Child" that outlined ominous changes in American courts toward parental rights. Historically, American courts presumed parents make good decisions for their children unless the State presented evidence to the contrary. Today, there is a growing trend to assume experts, including governmental agencies, are better equipped to determine the best ways to raise a child. The video documented this alarming transition with case after case of startling outcomes: Children as young as 11 given autonomy in medical decisions; public schools legally permitted to present sexually explicit material without prior parental notice; local libraries allowed to refuse to share a nine-year olds' internet records or book lists (even with past due fees being collected). Nationwide, court rulings clearly reveal that parents are no longer respected as the primary authority in their children's lives.
While an overwhelming majority of American parents (93%) believe they are best equipped to direct their children's education, faith and medical treatments, American courts increasingly disagree. Despite historical precedents in the Courts that presume parents to be best equipped to guide their children, most judges no longer hold parental rights in such high regard. Formerly given a 'fundamental right' status, a 2007 Maryland court actually ruled: "parental right bends to a state's duty to educate its citizens." This judgment dealt with a public school sexuality education program. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia threw the gauntlet to family advocates by explicitly stating there are no constitutional protections for parents. The Parental Rights Organization took that challenge seriously and the documentary is part of an ambitious campaign to secure a Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
Beyond the domestic rulings, a United Nations treaty developed two decades ago through the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) looms darkly over American families. This treaty, presented in language as devious and compelling as the serpent's words to Eve, threatens the very future of America. The hearts and minds of young people will be vulnerable to governmental determinations on what is best. The Treaty, supported by both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, offers appealing ideas. "The best interests of the child" and "a child's right to be heard" are difficult concepts to oppose. Yet the practical implications include a child's right to a governmental hearing for any parental decision with which a child disagrees. 'Legally enforceable leisure' and unrestricted media access choices are also a child's right under the CRC. The treaty deems it necessary for even Christian schools to present "alternative worldviews" as equally acceptable. This treaty, though not ratified by the US, has already been cited in American court cases as "customary international law" since it has been adopted by the majority of world nations. The American difference is that our Constitution requires courts to abide by international treaties, in all cases except Constitution-delineated rights. In other areas of the world treaties have far less impact than in America. In fact, no nation that has adopted this treaty over the past twenty years can even claim child welfare improvements. Despite that fact, pressure continues to mount for formal adoption of the treaty by the US. Should that occur, an 18-member committee of international officials (from countries such as Switzerland, Uganda and Egypt) would interpret proper application of the Treaty to American courts--and homes.
The combined changes in American courts and the threat of the impact of the U.N. Treaty on individual American lives propelled the Parental Rights Organization to develop resources for American families to use in taking a stand against this assault against families. The family is the building block of any society. In previous years, Communist, Nazi and Socialist regimes systemically attacked parental authority to secure governmental control over young people. Satan has been attacking families since the Garden of Eden for he detests God's design for the home. A Constitutional Amendment would provide textual precedent for family-friendly lawyers and judges to use to keep American homes strong. For more information on this battle and how you can have an impact: visit Parentalrights.org or write to them at PO Box 1090, Purcellville, VA 20134.
Billie Jo has been married to her husband, Craig, for 20 years, and they have two teenage children, Rusty and Riesa. Homemaking, including homeschooling, has been her primary ministry for the past 13 years. Visit her blog at www.ramblingsfrombilliejo.blogspot.com